How to Prepare to Meet with a Social Security Disability Lawyer
If the time has come to apply for social security disability benefits, you will want an experienced Disability Lawyer in your corner. Once you’ve made an appointment with one, the next best thing you can do is prepare for the initial meeting.
A social security disability attorney can guide you through the process of filing a disability claim through the Social Security Administration, SSA, and any appeals that may follow.
If you’re ready to file for your social security disability or have filed but been denied, prepare yourself for your meeting with your attorney by creating a timeline, compiling medical records, gathering previous work experience information, determining present abilities, and writing out a list of questions to ask.
Create a Timeline
To give the attorney a good sense of your unique case, compile a timeline of events. This will need to include an approximate date the disability began, which may be the date of an injury or the last day you could work. Next, if you have already applied for any Social Security benefits, provide dates of application filing and any denials received. This can be for SSDI or SSI benefits.
Compile Medical Evidence Records
Compile important medical records to share with your attorney. Include information on medical conditions, treatments, imaging, blood tests, and any other medical evidence relevant to your claim. Also, provide a list of any medications you currently take and what the dosages are.
In addition to the medical records, list out the doctors you have seen along with their contact information. They may need to be contacted now or sometime down the road. Your attorney may also bring in their medical experts to review your case and provide feedback.
Gather Previous Work Information
Bring along with you information on previous jobs you have held in the last 15 years. Along with the position held, consider what your various duties were at each.
Did you have to lift a certain weight? Were you required to be on your feet for long periods? Was bending at the waist or knee a common position? Did you have to sit all day, with only a few breaks? Of particular importance are things that you can no longer do due to your injury and the disability you are claiming.
Determine Present Abilities
Determine what it is you can do now. For instance, how long can you stand in an upright position? What duration can you stay in a seated position? What is the amount of weight you can now safely lift and carry? How have your daily activities been affected by your disability? How does the injury or illness interfere with your ability to be productive?
Bring Previous Disability Application Forms and Correspondence
If you filed your initial application for SSI or SSDI benefits already, bring with you everything you submitted. This will include the application form, a work history report, and an adult disability report. Your attorney will want to see what has already been submitted and determine what else will be needed.
Also, provide the attorney with any correspondence you have received from Social Security regarding your claim.
If you have already been denied, don’t panic. Approximately 70% of all initial claims are denied. This doesn’t mean it’s the end of it, however. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can work on your behalf and seek reconsideration of your claim, and even request and attend disability hearings before an Administrative Law Judge if necessary.
If you’re unsure how to find an attorney in your area, several organizations offer referral services, such as The National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives.
Write out a List of Questions You Want to Ask
Being closely involved in your case will assure your attorney that you are serious and organized. For this reason, write out a list of questions to ask the attorney during your visit.
Often when put in stressful or anxiety-inducing situations, you forget all the things you want to ask about, so writing them down will be beneficial. Here are examples of a few questions you may want to ask.
- What is your lawyer or law firm experience in handling Social Security Disability claims, denials, and hearings?
- What have been the outcomes of cases you have handled? In particular, how many successful outcomes have you achieved?
- Will you handle my claim and any hearings that may be needed, or will another attorney or staff member be assigned?
- What costs and fees will you require, and when must they be paid?
- Are there any major problems that you already know may be an issue?
Contact Our Social Security Disability Attorneys Today
Whether you have already filed an initial application for Social Security Disability benefits and been denied, or are ready to file the first one, our experienced attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. know just what to do next. Contact our law office at the toll-free phone number (866) 642-4529 for a no-obligation, free case evaluation.